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Va. School Board to Appeal Transgender Bathroom Ruling


A federal appeals court said a Virginia county school board's decision to bar schools from allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity violated federal law, NBC News reports.

Gavin Grimm, 16, was born female but identifies as male, underwent hormone therapy, and legally changed his name. While his school let him use the boys' bathrooms, the Gloucester County School Board decided the school did not have authority to make that accommodation.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that board violated Title IX, the provision of a federal law that bars sex discrimination. The board says it will appeal to the full appeals court.

That decision establishes legal precedent in all five states of the 4th Circuit, including North Carolina, which on April 1 passed a bill forcing people to use bathrooms that corresponds to the sex they were born with.

Photo Credit: Steve Helber/AP

2 Hurt on Turbulent Flight


Two flight attendants on a Southwest Airlines plane from Chicago to Boston were injured Thursday night when turbulence forced the flight to divert to Buffalo.

A Southwest spokeswoman said Flight 2386 from Chicago Midway International Airport to Boston Logan International Airport safely diverted to Buffalo Niagara International Airport after experiencing turbulence mid-flight. Upon landing, the flight crew was taken to a local hospital to be checked out.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the Boeing B737 aircraft landed safely in Buffalo around 9:30 p.m. Two flight attendants were injured, according to the FAA.

Passengers who were on the flight told necn that the plane dropped so sharply that some people "flew into the air,"some even hitting the ceiling of the aircraft.

"That was the worst like nose dive or drop I've ever experienced," said one passenger.

"I was scared," said another. "Terribly scared."

"We hit dead air and we just plummeted," Brian Sutherland, a passenger from Bellingham, Massachusetts, said. "There were screams from behind me, obviously just from the shock of it."

Sutherland says he grabbed the chair in front of him to keep himself from hitting anything.

But two of the flight attendants, who were out of their seats, weren't so lucky - including one who was pregnant and preparing the beverage service in the back of the Boeing 737.

"The galley in the back looked like a bomb had gone off because there was material everywhere so clearly she was thrown and then whatever debris was there hit her," Sutherland explained.

"All of a sudden, the plane just kind of dropped for five seconds and everyone who wasn't wearing a seat belt flew," said Brookline college student Maya Shaked.

According to Shaked, another flight attendant hit her head and was bleeding.

"She had an ice pack on her head, she was crying," she said. "I think she was concussed, she was surrounded by doctors."

Southwest was able to get a new flight crew and got passengers home around 2 a.m.

Some of the passengers had nothing but praise for the pilot.

"If you're dropping thousands of feet, that's not an easy thing to manage, so I'm grateful to him," said Sutherland.

Southwest Airlines said all 143 passengers on board were accommodated on another flight. The FAA is investigating what happened.

Photo Credit: Brian Sutherland

UConn Doesn't Have Enough Space for Bernie Sanders Event: Admin


UConn's Undergraduate Student Government (USG) had to pass up a chance to host a Bernie Sanders event because limited space, the administration said.

The Sanders campaign and the USG could not reach an agreement about a possible visit from the Vermont senator for Monday morning.

According to the university's spokesperson, Stephanie Reitz, the USG asked to university to help organize a 6,000-person event on the Storrs campus with only three business days of notice. 

Reitz said the only other events comparable to this size, like basketball games or commencement ceremonies, usually require an "enormous amount of planning and logistical work by the university" almost months in advance. 

Since UConn is not allowed to use public money for political events, the USG or another student group would have to be the primary host. However, the school offered other options the USG and Sanders campaign refused such has holding the event at Gampel for students only. 

The university said the biggest issue would be the amount of people on campus during a prime time of the week. 

"An influx of several thousand people who are not students or employees on a weekday morning when classes are in session would have been unfeasible with respect to parking for student and faculty, but also those visitors," Reitz said.

Reitz said the school "barely has adequate parking" for students and staff during the weekday mornings and that there would've been more "flexibility" with an evening or weekend event proposal.

"The logistics didn’t work out in this case," Reitz said.

'Purple Rain' Playing at Theaters in Mass., Conn.


"Purple Rain," Prince's biggest box office hit, will be playing at select AMC Theaters in the wake of the iconic singer's death on Thursday.

Among the 87 theaters across the country that will be showing the film are AMC Loews Boston Common, AMC Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers and AMC Methuen in Massachusetts and AMC Plainville in Connecticut. It will play from Saturday, April 23 through Thursday, April 28.

"Purple Rain" opened in 1984. It was the first of Prince's three movies, followed by "Under the Cherry Moon" in 1986 and "Graffiti Bridge" in 1990. Prince won an Oscar for best song score for the movie's soundtrack.

The semi-autobiographical rock musical focuses on a promising young musician, played by Prince.

For tickets and showtimes, click here.

Video Relased in Texas Slaying


Midlothian police released surveillance video Friday afternoon showing a person of interest in the Missy Bevers case walking through a church on Monday morning, shortly before the married mother of three was killed.

Terri "Missy" Leann Bevers, 45, was attacked inside the Creekside Church of Christ after arriving at about 4 a.m. to teach an early-morning Camp Gladiator workout class, police said.

Police released a few frames of the video Monday, noting the person's distinctive gait and mannerisms, hoping it would help identify the unknown person.

"We are just hoping that somebody will see something that piques their interest and spurs their memory, so that they may make a connection to somebody they know and provide us that tip," said Midlothian's Assistant Police Chief Kevin Johnson.

Friday afternoon, they released a longer clip showing the person walking through different parts of the church and swinging what appears to be a large hammer. Police would not say if it was the weapon used to kill Bevers, however, they indicated it was found near her body along with other tools from the church.

"Detectives would like the public to focus in on the mannerisms and distinguishing walk of the suspect," Johnson said, "Investigators believe that someone still has information or may recognize the suspect in this case."

Police said the indoor surveillance system at the church is motion-activated and that results in different time sequences. If there was no movement captured by the camera system, the video would stop recording. Video surveillance times are approximate, police said.

Investigators first said the person in the video, who is wearing black clothing and dressed similarly to a police tactical officer, is a man. On Tuesday they backed away from that assertion and said they weren't sure of the person's gender. When asked about potential suspects, Johnson said they were considering a long list of people.

"At this point, everything is on the table. We simply don't know," he explained. "All we know is that we want to find the killer responsible, whether it was one person or two persons, three persons – male or female."

Bevers is believed to have been in the church only moments before she ran into the person in black. Her students later found her unresponsive inside the church — she was later declared dead by a Justice of the Peace. Police said in a search warrant released Thursday that Bevers had a head wound, but further details about her death have been kept secret due to the investigation.

"This case is weighing heavy on the community and our investigative team. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Bevers family and our entire Midlothian community. We will vigorously pursue the person or persons responsible and bring them to justice," said Midlothian Police Chief Carl D. Smith.

The Midlothian Police Department continues to investigate new leads and is being assisted in the investigation by the Arlington Police Department, ATF, FBI and the Texas Rangers.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the department's tip line at 972-775-7624. Tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward and can also remain anonymous by contacting Ellis County Crime Stoppers at 972-937-PAYS (7292).

Oak Farms Dairy has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and grand jury indictment of the person or persons responsible.

On Friday afternoon, Kristi Stout, the victim's sister-in-law, said a fund had been established for Bevers' daughters. Anyone wishing to contribute can do so by making a donation to the Bevers Children Fund at any Citizens National Bank of Texas location.

NBC 5's Caroline Connolly contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Midlothian police / Family photo
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Clinton Won't Respond to Trump Insults


Hillary Clinton said she won’t respond to what Republican front-runner Donald Trump says about her directly, but vowed to go after him for his comments on Muslims, immigrants and women, NBC News reported. 

"You know what, it isn't really about me," Clinton said to a mostly female audience during a discussion about equal pay and gender parity. 

Clinton was speaking about the effects of cyber-bullying before pivoting to Trump, who recently started calling her “Crooked Hillary.” When asked about it last week, she dismissed the label.

Clinton, who promised to run a positive campaign, said she will remain focused on the issues and that Trump can “say whatever he wants about me.”

Some Lanes on Route 8 in Waterbury Closed Going Southbound


Some lanes on Route 8 in Waterbury are closed after a car hit a metal guardrail, state police said.

One lane has been reopened since the accident. 

Police said Route 8 between exits 30 and 29 is currently shut down. 

A car went through a metal guardrail on Friday. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Hillary Clinton to Campaign in Connecticut This Weekend


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in Hartford on Thursday, where she held a panel discussion on gun violence, and she will be in Connecticut on Saturday and Sunday as well.

She will campaign in New Haven on Saturday, according to her campaign, and she will hold a public event in Bridgeport on Sunday.

Clinton will be discussing her plans to raise incomes for families and break down the barriers that hold Americans back, her campaign said.

Officials from Bridgeport said Clinton will be attending a church service in Bridgeport on Sunday morning, but no information was available on when or exactly where.

The primary is on Tuesday and Connecticut will be getting several political visits.

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders is expected in Connecticut on Monday. Sources said he will be in Hartford.

New Haven officials said the city has issued a permit for the Sanders campaign to hold an event Sunday evening on the New haven Green, but they said they cannot speak for the campaign.

Ohio Governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich will be in Connecticut today. He will be at Glastonbury High School for a 5:30 p.m. event.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared in Hartford last week and will be in Waterbury and Bridgeport on Saturday morning.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Naugatuck Police Warn of Possible Girl Scout Cookie Scam


Officials said over the past few days they have received a number of complaints about a man and a young girl soliciting the sale of Girl Scout cookies.

The callers told police they felt the pair were not actually selling Girl Scout cookies because the man would often change his story from "baked goods" to Girl Scout cookies and said he was selling them for "summer school", police said.

Police said the young girl, who may be the suspect's daughter, appears to be about 10 years old.

Drew Ballolli said he got a knock at his door on Albion Street in Naugatuck last week by two girls who claimed to be selling cookies.

“I just thought they were selling cookies so I bought 4 boxes,” Ballolli said. “They got a lot of people. They made a lot of money.”

They never came back to deliver the orders to him or any of his neighbors. Police believe they may have hit houses all over Naugatuck, which is why they are searching for the man who was with the girls.

Ed Reznik, who also lives on Albion Street, saw the man and said he looked out of place.

“He was like shift eyed and looking around and seeing if people were walking back and forth. He was just uncomfortable in the area,” Reznik said.

Since the people filing the complaints did not give the suspects any money, police are asking anyone who may have been duped by thte pair to contact Sergeant Derek Poundstone at 203-720-7283 or email him at dpoundstone@naugatuckpd.org. People can also call the NPD confidential tip line at 203-720-1010 or email CRIMETIPS@naugatuckpd.org.

Police do not have a description, but as they investigate, the Girl Scouts of Connecticut say it is important to remember they take orders for cookies in January and deliver them in March. If a customer is buying them now, there is no reason they should not have the cookies in hand right after they pay.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

New Haven Man Found Fatally Shot in Running Car: Police


A New Haven man with a fatal gunshot wound was found in a running car, police said.

Around 1:15 p.m., police and EMT were dispatched to an unresponsive person in an idle car on Huntington Street, officials said. 

The victim, Tysean Johnson, was found in the car with a gunshot wound to his head. The 25-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. 

The case is being investigated. Police ask anyone with information or anyone who may have witnessed the incident to please call (203) 946-6304.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Hillary Clinton to Campaign in New Haven on Saturday


Hillary Clinton will campaign on New Haven on Saturday.

On April 23, Clinton will join Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro to discuss raising the incomes of working families in America, her campaign said. 

The event will be at Orangeside on Temple on 25 Temple Street in New Haven starting at 1:45 p.m.

After New Haven, Clinton will make another stop in Bridgeport on Monday. 

The Democratic presidential candidate was in Hartford on Thursday with families of victims to gun violence. 

Photo Credit: AP

Family Dog Kills Newborn


A newborn was killed by the family dog while in the parents' bed Friday morning, San Diego Police confirmed. 

The 3-day-old died following the attack in a home on Flanders Drive near Camino Ruiz in the Mira Mesa area. 

Sgt. Tuu Nguyen, of the Child Abuse Unit San Diego Police Department, described the baby's death as a tragic accident. His unit was called as it is in any child death investigation.

The mother and father of the newborn were watching television in bed with the baby and the dog, Nguyen said. 

When the mother suddenly coughed, "the dog made contact with the baby leading to traumatic injuries," Nguyen said. 

The parents rushed the newborn to the hospital, but the baby did not survive.

Nguyen did not go into details regarding the injuries the baby suffered, saying the San Diego County Medical Examiner's office would determine the cause of death. 

The dog is in the custody of the Department of Animal Services and under quarantine. 

It was described as a 2-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier by agency Deputy Director Dan DeSousa.

DeSousa did not have details on the attack but told NBC 7 an animal is placed under quarantine any time it bites or breaks human skin. 

He added that the family can direct them to euthanize the dog but they have not received that directive.

The location of the incident is near Mesa Verde neighborhood park and south of Mira Mesa High School.

Check back for updates on this developing story. 

Photo Credit: Department of Animal Services

Employees Robbed Almost $300K of Home Depot Merchandise: Police


Trumbull Police said warrants have been issued for seven Home Depot employees who are accused of stealing approximately $300,000 worth of merchandise from their employer during a series of late night shopping sprees.

In October, a store manager alerted police he could not locate a number of power tools. Police said he reviewed security footage showing employees going through the store after hours and filling up shopping carts with items from the shelves.

NBC Connecticut obtained the arrest warrant application for the night supervisor, 29-year-old Gregory Alston of Stamford. The court documents said he would give the employees his keys and they would “take the merchandise out through the rear garden roll-up door.”

Alston told an asset protection manager, according to the court documents, “the total amount of the thefts could be around $300,000 due to the fact that on some nights there could have been $10,000 worth of product being taken out.”

“They need to be punished, that’s all I can said,” Cassara said, “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

A Home Depot spokesperson released a statement to NBC Connecticut said, “This is not representative of our associates and those involved are no longer with the company.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Letters for Hastert Released


Letters of support written on behalf of Dennis Hastert were released Friday, including one from the former House Speaker's wife, pleading with Judge Thomas Durkin to consider Hastert's family in his sentencing decision.

"I have never known a more honorable and devoted man," Jean Hastert wrote about her husband of nearly 43 years. "He has spent his life in the service of others."

Hastert pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges that he intentionally disguised millions of dollars in bank withdrawals in a hush-money scheme to cover up decades of sexual abuse of young men, including students he interacted with as a high school wrestling coach.

“He has always been selfless with his time and talents and has been incredibly devoted to the success of others,” Hastert’s wife wrote in the letter dated March 2. "If one of his students or wrestlers ever needed anything of him, he would be there for them, and he was never happier than when he could watch someone he helped succeed."

She mentions his volunteer work, saying he taught college courses and volunteered as late as last summer, and that “given the time and if his health improves, he will continue to help others and find ways to give back to his communities.”

"Denny's selflessness has not been without cost, however," she adds. “Because he spent so much of his career away from home helping others, we always looked forward to his retirement so that we could spend more time together. Now, with his failing health, I worry about how much time we will ever get together.”

Hastert was hospitalized in November after suffering a stroke. He will face two accusers at his sentencing, which is scheduled for April 27.

“This has taken a terrible toll on our family,” his wife’s letter closes. “Please consider us when determining an appropriate sentence.”

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Kalamazoo Shooting Victim Abigail Kopf Home From Hospital


The Michigan teen who survived the shooting rampage in Kalamazoo, Michigan, told NBC News although parts of her recovery process have been “frustrating,” she’s home from the hospital after two months.

Abigail Kopf, 14, who was shot in the head, was so critically injured that doctors didn’t think she’d make it. 

She said her rehabilitation, in which she had to learn how to talk, walk and eat again — has been a struggle. But her recovery will continue at home, and she will likely be able to go back to school part-time.

Her grandmother, Barbara Hawthorne was among six people killed in the shooting spree on Feb. 20. Jason Brian Dalton, a 45-year-old Uber driver, is charged in the shootings.

Photo Credit: Kopf Family

Man Returns SD Card Found in Zimbabwe to CT Woman


The international mystery may have started in Zimbabwe but ended in the state of Connecticut.

Joe Sabia, who is a Milford-native, said when his friend found an SD card in the sand while on safari in sourthern Africa, he immediately knew he had to find the owner.

"I said 'I'm holding on to this' with the intent of going back to my laptop and seeing if there were actual images on the card," Sabia told NBC Connecticut. 

Sabia remembered seeing a YouTube sensation from 2011 about a New York man, Todd Bieber, who found a roll of film in Brooklyn and, with the help of the internet, was able to return the film to its rightful owner in Paris.

The 32-year-old videographer thought this could be "digital version" of Beiber's story and created a six-minute YouTube video to recount how his trip to Zimbabwe turned into a modern-day lost and found mission. 

In the video, Sabia finds that the SD card has 13 photos of a group of friends from about four years ago. One photo was even taken on the exact day-- Dec. 31-- that Sabia's buddies found the SD card. 

Sabia hopelessly looks for clues about who these people may be. There was a jersey framed on the wall....some shelves....all clearly in someone's basement.

But it ended up being a phone number on the water heater that led Sabia a little closer to his SD Cinderella. 

The phone number was a Fairfield area code.

“The company is based in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Someone here is from Fairfield County, Connecticut!" Sabia is heard exclaiming on camera.

After making the video, Sabia's friends helped sharing the post on social meda sites like Reddit. 

“Within five hours someone knew someone who knew someone who eventually found the girl who is in the photos," Sabia told NBC Connecticut News in a Skype interview.

Turns out the girl from the photos wasn't that far from Sabia at all.

“All of a sudden the picture pops up and it’s me and I freak out. I was like this isn’t real," Rebecca Sheinman told NBC Connecticut.

The young woman and her family had taken the same safari trip around the same time Sabia did in December 2015.

Sheinman, 22, who is originally from Wilton, said she was on the phone with her mom on Wednesday night when her dad grabbed the phone. 

"He said, 'Girly, get a computer' and I hear in his voice he is freaking out!" Sheiman said. 

Sheinman's dad had gotten an email from a friend with Sabia's link. Sheinman and her dad soon emailed Sabia to thank him for finding her SD card...even though she didn't know she had lost it in the first place. 

And just like that, Sabia traveled thousands of miles back home from Africa to find that the owner of this lost SD card was also a native in his home state.

In another serendipitous twist, Sheinman said she will be moving to New York City after she graduates from college in Michigan--the same city where Sabia lives right now.

The two plan to meet up sometime in May when Sheinman returns to exchange the SD card and most likely, a ton of stories. 

"I would love to put a bow around this whole thing. I want to be able to hand her her digital card and talk about our stories." Sabia told NBC Connecticut.  

"We're so accidentally bound by this experience."

Photo Credit: Joe Sabia

Bernie Sanders to Rally in New Haven, Hartford


Bernie Sanders will hold a rally in New Haven on Sunday, his campaign confirms.

The campaign also said the Democratic presidential candidate will be accompanied by R.E.M's lead singer Michael Stipe. 

The event will take place on the green at 65 Church Street in New Haven. Doors will open at 4 p.m.

The Senator will have another event in Hartford on Monday at the Riverfront Amphitheater on 300 Columbus Boulevard. Doors will open at 7 a.m. 

Sanders' visit will follow a slew of campaign stops happening in the state.

Hillary Clinton held a discussion on gun violence in Hartford on Thursday and is expected to speak in Bridgeport on Sunday. Republican candidates Donald Trump will be in Waterbury and Bridgeport on Saturday and John Kaisch is rallying in Glastonbury on Friday. 

All these candidates are making attempts to grab delegates in this close race as Connecticut's primaries are approaching on April 26.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Second Case of Zika Confirmed in Connecticut


A second case of Zika virus has been confirmed in Connecticut, the Department of Public Health said. 

The man who had just come back from a Zika-affected area in the Caribbean tested positive for the virus. 

"Today's test result highlights the need for everyone to take precautions if they are traveling to areas affected by Zika," DPH Commissioner Raul Rino said. "While, this virus is particularly dangerous for the babies of pregnant women, men need to be just as vigilant so that they don't transmit the virus to their partners through sexual contact." 

The first patient was in their 60s and had onset of illness on the day they returned from a Zika-affected area in early March, according to DPH. The case was detected by the Department of Public Health's state laboratory as part of the state's expedited response to the virus announced last month, DPH said. 

Symptoms of the Zika virus include skin rash, conjunctivitis, fatigue, chills, headache, and muscle aches.

State sources said the patient has been check out and is recovering. 

Connecticut is the 34th state to reportedly have cases of Zika. There have been 258 cases Zika confirmed in the United States. Out of those, six of those cases were transmitted sexually, the DPH said. 

Photo Credit: AP

UConn Issues Warning After Female Student Approched, Grabbed


The University of Connecticut has issued a warning to students after a female student was approached by two males late Friday evening.

According to the university, the student reported to police that she was walking on a path connecting X Lot to Alumni Drive around 11 p.m.

While she was walking, two males approached her from behind and grabbed her wrists.

She was able to pull free and leave the area.

The suspects are described as white males, both wearing light colored button down shirts. One has long hair and was wearing a backwards baseball cap.

The UConn Police Department is asking students to have a heightened awareness of their surroundings and to call police if they have any information.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Ransomware Attacks Force Hospitals to Pay Big


Infected by ransomware, hospitals around the country have been forced to pay hefty sums to criminal hackers.

One of the most extreme cases took place in February, when Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center handed over $17,000 to hackers who took over its systems. Since then, two other hospitals in California, as well as in Kentucky and Maryland, were also hit, NBC News reported.

While ransomware isn't new, it was rare in the past for hospitals to be targeted, according to Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response. 

What changed? That $17,000 payday made headlines.

"This was a very public case of a hospital paying a great deal of money to make a problem go away," Haley told NBC News. "I think it led to the targeting of these organizations."

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Maskot
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